First grade continues to be one of my biggest challenges each day. I'm surprised at how little we have covered so far because I have to be on top of them at all times. But, of any grade- they know their art and artists the best because their projects have been so thoroughly planned! I have been so blown away by their imagination and retention of information I throw at them!
I started off this unit by showing them a picture of Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie." (It's basically just primary colors and squares.) I asked them things like "What do you guys think this is? What does it remind you of? Describe it to me." That conversation itself lasted at least 10 minutes! They agreed with me that they saw streets and cars. Then I told them who painted it and the name of the painting. I asked them if that changed what they saw at all and what they thought of when they heard Broadway or Boogie Woogie. So, we got into a conversation of music and dancing.
I had them brainstorm about what "inspiration" means in art, and we decided it means you like something enough to imitate it or do something that reminds you of it. I asked them what they thought Piet Mondrian was inspired by, and luckily someone in each class drew the conclusion that he was inspired by music. So I pulled in the last detail that it was jazz music. I read them the book "Lookin for Bird in the Big City" on the first day- it required me to sing things like "be-bop do-wa de-doo"- so that was a fun challenge! The second day when we were reviewing, I read them the book below. Both books did a great job tying in connections to the city.
On the first day, I just had them lay out the yellow "streets" on their white square. I told them they needed two going up and down and two side to side. They got to choose where the other two went, and they were allowed to cut those, as well.
Once they got this part glued down, I went ahead and had them return to the floor with me and I went over primary colors with them since Mondrian only used red, yellow, and blue. I have a book called "A Book About Color" by Mark Gonyea. I would highly recommend it. It's broken up into chapters, so we just read the first chapter about primary colors and mixing them.
The next class period, they got to cut up red and blue strips to make the "cars" for their streets. I helped them pre-cut the layered "buildings" so they could stack them small, medium, large. To remind them how Piet Mondrian was inspired by jazz, I showed them how to draw music elements in the white spaces. The piano keys and music notes were very successful. others drew trumpets and complicated instruments. I thought of this step last minute, but I'm glad I went with it! It's always good to change up a piece of art so you don't just copy the original exactly!